Over the next couple of months, some students will receive mysterious checks in the mail. Those who don't know why they are receiving these checks might think that they have appeared out of thin air or that magic was involved, but they would be wrong -- students with high marks will see extra money in the mail as the province begins sending out the Jason Lang Scholarship.
Students are eligible to receive the $1,000 award three times, said Alberta Scholarship Programs manager Stuart Dunn.
"[The] Jason Lang scholarship is an undergraduate scholarship for Alberta students attending full-time post-secondary studies in Alberta. To qualify, a student has to have an average of 3.2 or higher on a minimum 80 per cent course load and then be continuing their studies," said Dunn.
Individual institutions in Alberta are responsible for nominating eligible students for the award, he said.
The U of C's office of Student Awards and Financial Aid typically nominates students for the Jason Lang scholarship at the end of September or the beginning of October, said Jonas Tenold, student awards communication assistant.
"In years previous, it's been [received in] December. We're hoping that they receive the money earlier this year, but again that's all determined by Alberta scholarship programs," said Tenold. "It's a growing list. This year, we [the University of Calgary] nominated 3,850 and that's up 200 from last year."
Last year 14,365 Alberta students received the Jason Lang scholarship, a value of $14,365, 000.
Dunn says that more students receive the Lang than any other scholarship, although the Rutherford scholarships actually receive more funding from the government because they can reach $2,500.
Third-year civil engineering student Meghan Walsh said the scholarship was helpful.
"It's a good idea to commend people for a good GPA," she said.
The scholarship is named in memoriam of Jason Lang, a student killed in the Taber school shooting.
"The government planned to do this scholarship thing not long before Jason died and after that whole event unfolded they came to us and asked if they could name the scholarship in memory of Jason," said Dale Lang, Jason's father.
Dale said Jason was a quiet and polite guy who loved spending time with his friends. Lang was involved in various sports including volleyball, hockey, basketball and soccer.
"For students it's an awfully good thing to get 1,000 bucks when you're not expecting it," said Lang. "For us the advantage of the blessing [the Jason Lang scholarship] is that a lot of the people who receive the scholarship talk about how receiving the scholarship made them think about the event again, made them think about their old sort of life again and so I think it has an interesting extra added value there when people stop to think about some of these things, the challenges we face as a society, I think it's a good thing."